Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (4-17) 2 3 0
Cincinnati Reds (10-10) 4 7 0
W: Cueto (2-2) L: Lohse (1-4) S: Chapman (5)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Johnny Cueto. He’s good. He’s very good. He may be the best Reds pitcher I’ve seen in my lifetime (if you exclude Jimmy Haynes, of course). Tonight, Cueto went 8 strong innings, permitting two runs on just three hits. He struck out 6 and walked none, leaving the game after just 85 pitches. Frankly, he probably should have gotten a complete game tonight, but manager Bryan Price is so much in love with the “save” stat that he brought in Aroldis Chapman for the ninth inning.

–That said, Aroldis Chapman is pretty great himself. He pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two Brewers to pick up his fifth save.

–Only one Red had more than a single hit. That Red’s name was Joey Votto. Votto had been on a mini-skid, but he went 2-4 tonight, with a first-inning solo homer.

–Brandon Phillips hit a 2-run homer in the fourth, and Marlon Byrd followed up one batter later with a solo shot.

The Bad
–Todd Frazier was 0-3 with two strikeouts. The Toddfather has been fine this year, but he was hitting cleanup tonight. So the Reds still have ZERO extra-base hits from the cleanup spot. That’s almost impossible to believe, twenty games into the season.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–The ol’ Redlegs have clawed their way back to .500, at 10-10. Can we please play the Brewers every night?

–Cueto has now won six straight games against Milwaukee. He’s 8-0 lifetime against the Brewers at Great American Ballpark. Crazy.

–Is it possible that Byrd is finally heating up? There are some positive signs.

–The Phillips/Byrd homers were the first time the Reds have gone back-to-back this season.

–Remember this time last year, when the Brewers were beginning to run away with the National League Central division? Baseball is a funny game.

–Only three games out of first place! The pennant race is heating up! Series finale against the Brew Crew tomorrow afternoon, with Michael Lorenzen making his major league debut. I’m definitely looking forward to that one. Go Reds.

47 Responses

  1. CTRedsFan

    Maybe the Reds can put “tip jars” at the entrance/exits to GABP and use the proceeds to fund a Cueto extension. I would contribute. Love watching Johnny pitch.

    • Jake

      I’d definitely make a contribution. Gonna miss Cueto

    • MrRed

      Why stop there? How about a GoFundMe campaign too? Maybe Bob C. can go source some loans pledged against future TV revenues?

      I kid…sort of. But I’d love to see Cueto here for at least another 3 or 4 years while he rides his peak. In my mind, he has surpassed Soto as the best Reds pitcher I’ve seen.

  2. Steve Mancuso

    I didn’t hear Price’s interview after the game, but I bet Cueto throwing 125 pitches in his last start had something to do with not going out in the ninth. I was surprised though. I stayed to watch Cueto pitch the ninth and then he didn’t show.

    • CTRedsFan

      Cueto did not look thrilled with the decision. He definitely wanted to go back out for the 9th.

      • Vicferrari

        I thought this was a dumb decision, if you need Chapman tomorrow then you are severely limited against the Braves. You might have to go to your bullpen early tomorrow and if you can get a lead after 7- who do you trust when you could use Chapman for 2 innings and be in the same position you would be in if he only pitches the 9th tomorrow. I know you cannot play for a situation that may never come about, but at 85 pitches who cares how many pitches he threw 6 days ago.

      • greenmtred

        Who cares? A manager who wants to keep him healthy, that’s who.

    • kmartin

      However, seeing Aroldis pitch and throw off-speed pitches was a very nice consolation prize.

    • zed4man

      Chances are trying to get Chapman back in a “save situation” mentality after last night’s unfortunate 9th inning apearance played into it too. We all know a closer can’t be expected to come into a game when a save isn’t on the line. It plays havoc with their fragile psyches. Seems to me a dominant starter sitting at 85 pitches heading into the 9th tonight is the perfect opportunity to let the pen relax.

    • tct

      I don’t mind Cueto being pulled out after eight. One of the worst things that could happen to the Reds would be for them to fall out of contention and have Cueto get hurt and not be able to trade him. They rode him like a horse last year, and he threw a bunch of pitches in his last start, so it’s fine by me to go ahead and bring Chapman in there.

      Oh, and BTW, Joey Votto once again slapped hands with his invisible dwarf at third base, Gnomer Bailey, after a homerun. It wasn’t as obvious as it had been before; he did it quick and didn’t get as low as usual. But I can confirm that he gave the gnome some dap. This has been probably the most entertaining thing about the season for me.

      • cfd3000

        TCT I’ve seen this and wondered if it was just an odd deal he has with Riggleman. Did you dream up this amusing description or did it come from somewhere else?

      • tct

        Embarrassingly enough, I came up with it myself. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long season, so I have to keep myself amused. The weird superstitions and rituals of baseball players is one of my favorite things about baseball. I was really bad myself about compulsive rituals when I played.

      • i71_Exile

        Gnomer Bailey is funny. I bet you miss Jonny Gomes? He has the best pre-pitch ritual I can remember.

      • lwblogger2

        Sean Casey and Nomar Garciaparra… Human rain delays! Really liked both of them though… Yes, the odd superstitious rituals are part of what make baseball fun.

    • jessecuster44

      I am going to say that Price was going to be wrong no matter what he did there. Tough decision. The Reds won, though – so I have no problem with the decision.

      Chappy should be fine vs the Braves, as he faced the minimum.

  3. ohiojimw

    Frazier is too often still sophomoric at a time when he should an upper classman helping to lead this team to better results.

    He failed again tonight to put the ball in play when he did not even need a hit to score a run. This went a long way toward leaving the door ajar for a possible Milwaukee comeback; and probably indirectly contributed to Cueto not getting a chance to pitch in 9th. On his next AB Frazier drew a walk but then got himself easily doubled off on a line drive with the play right in front of him.

    Over time his ledger probably comes out positive; but the team needs and
    I think has the right to expect more from him.

    • tct

      I see what you’re saying, but I think Frazier is seriously underrated because he’s not great at anything. But he’s average to above average at everything. He’s turned into an above average fielder at third. He’s a sneaky good base runner, despite average speed, because he seems to have good instincts and excels at catching people napping and taking a base. He has average, maybe slightly above average, on base skills. And his power is above average.

      He’s not gonna carry your lineup. But if you got a couple offensive studs, he’s exactly the type of player you want to surround them with. He’s a guy that WAR helps us appreciate because he provides value all over the field.

  4. AARON

    Just remember matter how much the 2015 Reds frustrate and make you want to bang your head against the wall… they aren’t the 2015 Brewers. 4-17. Just epically brutal.

    May 1 and, with the only exception being a mighty flood that starts in Pittsburgh and moves down the Ohio River to Cincinnati and St Louis and up just as far as Wrigley Field, they have no shot at the division.

  5. Vicferrari

    About being the best ever, would have to say Cueto needs a few more great seasons to outclass Rijo and Soto- never saw Seaver’s great years, would not sign him in light of what is going on with Bailey and what happened to the others shortly after their strong years, start developing their talent

  6. WVRedlegs

    Yes, the Reds could sign Cueto to an extension. They could trim a little fat from the budget and many contracts come off the books after 2015. No Leake, Parra, Marshall, Badenhop, Gregg, LeCure, Byrd, Schumaker, and Ludwick and Hannahan to pay. And if they could somehow, some way trade BP. Might be able to do it and keep Chapman and Bruce. They could trade Bruce if Meso is moved to LF and Winker is slated in RF.
    No sense getting all caught up in fire sale talk and salary dump talk. Lets talk an age and veteranyness dump and augment the best hitter in the NL (Votto) and one of the best pitchers in MLB with some good young talent.

    • jdx19

      I really, really like Cueto, but I have to disagree. He’s getting older and is not exactly injury-averse. Long-term pitcher contracts give me pause, especially ones that will outpace Votto’s AAV (assuming Cueto has a good year). The team should concentrate on developing its young pitching and trading for more young pitching, IMO.

      If we did resign Cueto, we’d be paying Cueto+Votto betwen 50 and 55 million, probably, in 2-3 years time.

      • WVRedlegs

        Both sides of the argument can make a compelling case to do or don’t extend Cueto. Walking in a mine field on this issue.
        Part of the future arrives tomorrow. I’m looking for a good debut.

      • sezwhom

        I agree JDX. Let someone else pay Cueto the serious bank next year. We can get a lot in return by trading him. Unfortunately, that means I have to put faith in Jocketty which scares me.

    • Scot Lykins

      I believe we are stuck with Bruce. He has no trade value.

      • PARedsfan

        That is 2 games in a row that Bruce hasn’t struck out at least once, I’m just going to enjoy that….lol

      • BigRedMike

        Bruce is only signed through 2016. Team option for 2017. He could be traded to a high payroll team with that short of remaining contract

      • Steve Mancuso

        Good chance Bruce produces 3-3.5 WAR this season. That’s worth $25-30 million on open market. Salary $12 million. Nearly every team would want him.

      • BigRedMike

        I agree Steve

        Will the Reds try and extend Bruce? or just exercise the 2017 option?

      • lwblogger2

        There are enough teams that would see what he is under contract for that they would certainly be able to move him if they wished to. I’m not sure what the return would be but Bruce, under his current contract, is very movable if the team tries. The buyout on the 2017 option? A whopping $1-million. That’s less than the buyouts for Hannahan and Ludwick. I also doubt Bruce will stay under the Mendozza line, his power is also better than last year, and he’s taking some BB.

  7. B-town Fan

    Great win! As for Milwaukee they are a good example of the old adage “You can’t win the division in April, but you can sure lose it”.

  8. Eric the Red

    1) At first, I thought pulling Cueto was nuts. You don’t pull a dominating pitcher at 85 pitches no matter who is in your bullpen, because it’s always possible the bullpen guy comes in and has an off night. But Aramis Ramirez was due up fourth and he owns Cueto. We can talk about small sample sizes, but I continue to believe that when you go past something like 20 ABs and guys have unusual splits you don’t ignore them, especially when the guy parked a ball in the upper deck in that very game.

    2) I’d sign Cueto, because there are very few true number ones and he’s clearly one of them. A healthy Cueto is the kind of pitcher that can take a team deep in the playoffs, which should be the goal of the organization. Maybe he’ll be hurt and overpaid in 2021, but I’ll take it for a legitimate shot at a WS in 2016.

    3) Cueto is so good I think he’s deliberately pitching to avoid having to come out before the 9th. Yes it’s a depleted Brewers squad, but it looked to me like he was pitching more to contact so he could keep his pitch count down. I don’t blame him–I wouldn’t want to turn a lead over to anyone but Chapman, either.

    4) Last night’s umpire was probably the worst yet this season. There were multiple pitches that the pitch tracking (and my lyin’ eyes) clearly showed were practically in the middle of the plate that were called balls. Meanwhile, there were pitches like that “strike” to Bruce that someone mentioned in the game thread. Terrible.

    5) The “guy on 3rd with less than 2 outs” thing is in Frazier’s head at this point. I’m sure he’ll come out of it eventually, but it’s tough to watch in the meantime.

    • Matt WI

      Hope you’re right about #5. I’m sure it’s more anecdotal to when I’ve been able to listen/watch, but the amount of ‘hits’ this team has that are pop ups to the catcher or don’t pass the 3rd baseman with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs is frustrating. It’s like their new version of getting thrown out at the plate like they did last year. Frankly, I’ll take this.

      • Eric the Red

        If I’m not mistaken, we’re in the upper half of the NL in scoring runners from 3rd with less than two outs. But Frazier is struggling at the moment.

  9. Eric the Red

    I’m guessing Votto gets a day off today–Price has said he really wants to get JV some rest–and that Tucker catches Lorenzen. (Did Tucker catch Lorenzen’s first couple of good starts in Louisville? If so, I’d really expect him to get the start today.)

  10. charlottencredsfan

    We get back to MLB action tomorrow night, than we can see what’s what.

    • Matt WI

      Amen. I’m just excited to learn that baseball exists outside the NL Central. Two thumbs down on this scheduling for the month.

  11. Matt WI

    Huh, Parra went on the DL too? Missed that. “Strained neck.” Homer to the 60 Day DL. (Cue evil music).

    • SoCalRedsFan

      Gee, I wonder how his neck got sprained? Must be from whipping it around to track all of the line drives that he’s given up. When batters put on a laser show…that’s how you give up a .538 BABIP.

  12. ElPasoRed

    “Frankly, he (Cueto) probably should have gotten a complete game tonight, but manager Bryan Price is so much in love with the “save” stat that he brought in Aroldis Chapman for the ninth inning.”

    Come on, now! Bringing in Chapman to close out against the middle of the Brewer’s lineup was the correct call, not a stat boosting move! If Price had left in Cueto and he had somehow given up a bloop to Herrera and a blast to Braun, you’d have typed “Price tried to get Cueto a complete game because he is in love with stats and left our best pitcher in the pen again”!

    It is no wonder the man cusses out the media…

    • greenmtred

      Good point. Dusty used to get bashed here for leaving pitchers in to get a complete game.

  13. jessecuster44

    Can we have a thread devoted to what to do with Johnny Cueto? I would love an exclusive discussion about this idea.

  14. mtkal

    I LOVE and agree wholeheartedly with the title of this thread/article.